Opposition parties should propose meaningful change

It is true that opposition parties should focus more on specific problems and come up with well-tailored solutions, rather than merely clamour for change (Political change for the sake of change ludicrous, by Dr Yik Keng Yeong; Aug 5).

At the same time, Dr Yik's letter should encourage Singaporeans to think carefully about the role that opposition parties should play in our society.

Singaporeans will not be content with just having a voice. They need a plan and want to see a clear direction.

Banners and slogans will neither address the concerns of Singaporeans nor fix the country's problems.

We have to recognise that real, meaningful change is not made from condensing complex and difficult national problems into simple political catchphrases.

Instead, it is brought about by addressing these problems directly and solving them through sound policies and competent governance.

Yes, lending an ear to the people is undeniably important - and leaders of all stripes should strive to do so.

But the work does not end there. Rather, it is only the beginning: Having heard the people, actions have to be taken promptly.

Leaders from opposition parties should not be telling people only about "what went wrong".

They should also tell Singaporeans "what to do" and, more importantly, "how to do it". Words and resolutions without solutions are nothing more than castles in the air.

Opposition parties should be less a political force to oppose than a constructive bloc to propose new and innovative solutions to remedy the country's problems.

Major pieces of a constructive political or governance architecture always comprise strong leadership and clear direction. They are never built upon mere rhetoric and pithy talk.

The last thing that Singaporeans would want is a political landscape dabbed by specks of parochial party interests and political bickering devoid of form and meaning.

Despite the fact that a coalition of opposition parties may be in the making, it still comes down to having policies and proposals for real, meaningful change to make the difference.

Michael Zhou Xizhuang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'Opposition parties should propose meaningful change'. Print Edition | Subscribe